The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Democrats take the offensive on security

This has been a big story all day, but I've held off because I haven't given it the attention it deserves. Yet. That's something I really wanted to do, considering the long-standing GOP line that Democrats don't have any ideas. But it's turned out to be a huge news day, and with or without smarty-pants commentary from me this is a big headline.

In a nutshell: "[L]eading Democrats in Congress are unveiling a broad attack this week on the administration's security policies at home and overseas along with a set of proposals intended to demonstrate that they have a credible alternative."

The Republican response, which was unified and actually preceded the proposals' release: "[R]epublicans, anticipating the Democratic attack, were already circulating their own counteroffensive on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Senator Christopher S. Bond, Republican of Missouri, said he had just obtained a copy of the Democrats' plan and added, "It's taken them all this time to figure out what we've been doing for a long time."

Mr. Bond said that while Democrats sought to showcase their support of national security, they had tried to block renewal of the antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act and the administration's program of wiretapping without warrants.

My initial reaction is that the Dems have a solid chance of snatching this issue from the GOP. They're defining themselves by identification with an executive who demands the massively unpopular (and extra-legal) rights to torture, to subject citizens to searches and detention without probable cause, and to do disregard the ancient legal standard of habeas corpus. Democrats have a steady record of attempting to enact valid security initiatives, only to have them voted down by the GOP and their corporate allies. It's all about how they play their hand.